Centralized Training with Decentralized Execution (CTDE) has been a popular paradigm in cooperative Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) settings and is widely used in many real applications. One of the major challenges in the training process is credit assignment, which aims to deduce the contributions of each agent according to the global rewards. Existing credit assignment methods focus on either decomposing the joint value function into individual value functions or measuring the impact of local observations and actions on the global value function. These approaches lack a thorough consideration of the complicated interactions among multiple agents, leading to an unsuitable assignment of credit and subsequently mediocre results on MARL. We propose Shapley Counterfactual Credit Assignment, a novel method for explicit credit assignment which accounts for the coalition of agents. Specifically, Shapley Value and its desired properties are leveraged in deep MARL to credit any combinations of agents, which grants us the capability to estimate the individual credit for each agent. Despite this capability, the main technical difficulty lies in the computational complexity of Shapley Value who grows factorially as the number of agents. We instead utilize an approximation method via Monte Carlo sampling, which reduces the sample complexity while maintaining its effectiveness. We evaluate our method on StarCraft II benchmarks across different scenarios. Our method outperforms existing cooperative MARL algorithms significantly and achieves the state-of-the-art, with especially large margins on tasks with more severe difficulties.
Existing work in counterfactual Learning to Rank (LTR) has focussed on optimizing feature-based models that predict the optimal ranking based on document features. LTR methods based on bandit algorithms often optimize tabular models that memorize the optimal ranking per query. These types of model have their own advantages and disadvantages. Feature-based models provide very robust performance across many queries, including those previously unseen, however, the available features often limit the rankings the model can predict. In contrast, tabular models can converge on any possible ranking through memorization. However, memorization is extremely prone to noise, which makes tabular models reliable only when large numbers of user interactions are available. Can we develop a robust counterfactual LTR method that pursues memorization-based optimization whenever it is safe to do? We introduce the Generalization and Specialization (GENSPEC) algorithm, a robust feature-based counterfactual LTR method that pursues per-query memorization when it is safe to do so. GENSPEC optimizes a single feature-based model for generalization: robust performance across all queries, and many tabular models for specialization: each optimized for high performance on a single query. GENSPEC uses novel relative high-confidence bounds to choose which model to deploy per query. By doing so, GENSPEC enjoys the high performance of successfully specialized tabular models with the robustness of a generalized feature-based model. Our results show that GENSPEC leads to optimal performance on queries with sufficient click data, while having robust behavior on queries with little or noisy data.
Recently, deep multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) has become a highly active research area as many real-world problems can be inherently viewed as multiagent systems. A particularly interesting and widely applicable class of problems is the partially observable cooperative multiagent setting, in which a team of agents learns to coordinate their behaviors conditioning on their private observations and commonly shared global reward signals. One natural solution is to resort to the centralized training and decentralized execution paradigm. During centralized training, one key challenge is the multiagent credit assignment: how to allocate the global rewards for individual agent policies for better coordination towards maximizing system-level's benefits. In this paper, we propose a new method called Q-value Path Decomposition (QPD) to decompose the system's global Q-values into individual agents' Q-values. Unlike previous works which restrict the representation relation of the individual Q-values and the global one, we leverage the integrated gradient attribution technique into deep MARL to directly decompose global Q-values along trajectory paths to assign credits for agents. We evaluate QPD on the challenging StarCraft II micromanagement tasks and show that QPD achieves the state-of-the-art performance in both homogeneous and heterogeneous multiagent scenarios compared with existing cooperative MARL algorithms.
Active learning from demonstration allows a robot to query a human for specific types of input to achieve efficient learning. Existing work has explored a variety of active query strategies; however, to our knowledge, none of these strategies directly minimize the performance risk of the policy the robot is learning. Utilizing recent advances in performance bounds for inverse reinforcement learning, we propose a risk-aware active inverse reinforcement learning algorithm that focuses active queries on areas of the state space with the potential for large generalization error. We show that risk-aware active learning outperforms standard active IRL approaches on gridworld, simulated driving, and table setting tasks, while also providing a performance-based stopping criterion that allows a robot to know when it has received enough demonstrations to safely perform a task.
Deep reinforcement learning suggests the promise of fully automated learning of robotic control policies that directly map sensory inputs to low-level actions. However, applying deep reinforcement learning methods on real-world robots is exceptionally difficult, due both to the sample complexity and, just as importantly, the sensitivity of such methods to hyperparameters. While hyperparameter tuning can be performed in parallel in simulated domains, it is usually impractical to tune hyperparameters directly on real-world robotic platforms, especially legged platforms like quadrupedal robots that can be damaged through extensive trial-and-error learning. In this paper, we develop a stable variant of the soft actor-critic deep reinforcement learning algorithm that requires minimal hyperparameter tuning, while also requiring only a modest number of trials to learn multilayer neural network policies. This algorithm is based on the framework of maximum entropy reinforcement learning, and automatically trades off exploration against exploitation by dynamically and automatically tuning a temperature parameter that determines the stochasticity of the policy. We show that this method achieves state-of-the-art performance on four standard benchmark environments. We then demonstrate that it can be used to learn quadrupedal locomotion gaits on a real-world Minitaur robot, learning to walk from scratch directly in the real world in two hours of training.
Efficient exploration remains a major challenge for reinforcement learning. One reason is that the variability of the returns often depends on the current state and action, and is therefore heteroscedastic. Classical exploration strategies such as upper confidence bound algorithms and Thompson sampling fail to appropriately account for heteroscedasticity, even in the bandit setting. Motivated by recent findings that address this issue in bandits, we propose to use Information-Directed Sampling (IDS) for exploration in reinforcement learning. As our main contribution, we build on recent advances in distributional reinforcement learning and propose a novel, tractable approximation of IDS for deep Q-learning. The resulting exploration strategy explicitly accounts for both parametric uncertainty and heteroscedastic observation noise. We evaluate our method on Atari games and demonstrate a significant improvement over alternative approaches.
Methods proposed in the literature towards continual deep learning typically operate in a task-based sequential learning setup. A sequence of tasks is learned, one at a time, with all data of current task available but not of previous or future tasks. Task boundaries and identities are known at all times. This setup, however, is rarely encountered in practical applications. Therefore we investigate how to transform continual learning to an online setup. We develop a system that keeps on learning over time in a streaming fashion, with data distributions gradually changing and without the notion of separate tasks. To this end, we build on the work on Memory Aware Synapses, and show how this method can be made online by providing a protocol to decide i) when to update the importance weights, ii) which data to use to update them, and iii) how to accumulate the importance weights at each update step. Experimental results show the validity of the approach in the context of two applications: (self-)supervised learning of a face recognition model by watching soap series and learning a robot to avoid collisions.
We propose a method to efficiently learn diverse strategies in reinforcement learning for query reformulation in the tasks of document retrieval and question answering. In the proposed framework an agent consists of multiple specialized sub-agents and a meta-agent that learns to aggregate the answers from sub-agents to produce a final answer. Sub-agents are trained on disjoint partitions of the training data, while the meta-agent is trained on the full training set. Our method makes learning faster, because it is highly parallelizable, and has better generalization performance than strong baselines, such as an ensemble of agents trained on the full data. We show that the improved performance is due to the increased diversity of reformulation strategies.
A variety of machine learning models have been proposed to assess the performance of players in professional sports. However, they have only a limited ability to model how player performance depends on the game context. This paper proposes a new approach to capturing game context: we apply Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) to learn an action-value Q function from 3M play-by-play events in the National Hockey League (NHL). The neural network representation integrates both continuous context signals and game history, using a possession-based LSTM. The learned Q-function is used to value players' actions under different game contexts. To assess a player's overall performance, we introduce a novel Game Impact Metric (GIM) that aggregates the values of the player's actions. Empirical Evaluation shows GIM is consistent throughout a play season, and correlates highly with standard success measures and future salary.
Existing multi-agent reinforcement learning methods are limited typically to a small number of agents. When the agent number increases largely, the learning becomes intractable due to the curse of the dimensionality and the exponential growth of agent interactions. In this paper, we present Mean Field Reinforcement Learning where the interactions within the population of agents are approximated by those between a single agent and the average effect from the overall population or neighboring agents; the interplay between the two entities is mutually reinforced: the learning of the individual agent's optimal policy depends on the dynamics of the population, while the dynamics of the population change according to the collective patterns of the individual policies. We develop practical mean field Q-learning and mean field Actor-Critic algorithms and analyze the convergence of the solution to Nash equilibrium. Experiments on Gaussian squeeze, Ising model, and battle games justify the learning effectiveness of our mean field approaches. In addition, we report the first result to solve the Ising model via model-free reinforcement learning methods.
In many real-world settings, a team of agents must coordinate their behaviour while acting in a decentralised way. At the same time, it is often possible to train the agents in a centralised fashion in a simulated or laboratory setting, where global state information is available and communication constraints are lifted. Learning joint action-values conditioned on extra state information is an attractive way to exploit centralised learning, but the best strategy for then extracting decentralised policies is unclear. Our solution is QMIX, a novel value-based method that can train decentralised policies in a centralised end-to-end fashion. QMIX employs a network that estimates joint action-values as a complex non-linear combination of per-agent values that condition only on local observations. We structurally enforce that the joint-action value is monotonic in the per-agent values, which allows tractable maximisation of the joint action-value in off-policy learning, and guarantees consistency between the centralised and decentralised policies. We evaluate QMIX on a challenging set of StarCraft II micromanagement tasks, and show that QMIX significantly outperforms existing value-based multi-agent reinforcement learning methods.